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Hill apologizes after arrest

1/27/2009 - NFL LeRoy Hill Seattle Seahawks + more

SEATTLE -- Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill apologized after his weekend arrest in the Atlanta area for investigation of misdemeanor marijuana possession just weeks before he could become a free agent.

In a statement Monday, Hill said he's embarrassed by the Saturday morning arrest "and the poor judgment I showed." And he added: "Please understand my actions were not consistent with the type of person I hope to become."

Seattle's third-round draft choice from 2005 was often all over the field while making 81 tackles in 12 games in 2008 before pinching a nerve in his neck. He earned $927,000 in base salary last year and can become a free agent for the first time beginning on Feb. 27 -- though he has said he'd love to stay with Seattle and will give the team an extra listen in contract talks before then.

"I think I set myself up good," he said four weeks ago, well before this weekend's arrest. "If Seattle decides not to go forward with me, I think I'll have a job next year."

Seahawks president Tim Ruskell said this month that re-signing Hill is the team's top priority before April's draft.

Monday, he said he felt like he'd been punched in the gut.

"We are a team always striving for good, consistent character, so it is disappointing when something like this happens," Ruskell said.

This was the third off-field incident in the last nine months for a starter on Seattle's defense, which Ruskell has personally remade since arriving in February 2005.

Sgt. Dwayne Taylor of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office says the 26-year-old Hill was arrested early Saturday morning in the suburban Atlanta county. Taylor said Hill had apparently fallen asleep behind the wheel at a major intersection.

Taylor said officers found less than one ounce of marijuana in the vehicle. Hill was released after posting a $1,500 bond.

Last summer, star linebacker Lofa Tatupu spent a night in jail, was fined over $1,200 and had a breath-alcohol lock installed in his car for one year after he pleaded guilty to drunken driving in suburban Kirkland, Wash.

In April, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, also due to be a free agent this offseason, was accused of hitting his girlfriend in the head at a Seattle nightclub. He pleaded not guilty and is under a court order for two years. Bernard is also due to be a free agent next month.